The AAF folded last week, ending in the middle of their inaugural season, but spring football will be back next year with the XFL. Led by deep-pocketed billionaire Vince McMahon and with more time to plan compared to the AAF’s rush to launch, the XFL figures to be much more successful than the AAF. The eight cities for the next startup football league are known, but they do not yet have team names, so we’ve come up with XFL team names for each city.
Back in 2001 when the XFL was first in existence, the names were pretty edgy (the New York/New Jersey team was called the “Hitmen”), and while they’ll probably be tamer for 2020, there should be good names to play with. For many people, the Dallas Drifters would probably bring up thoughts of a gun-slinging killer that comes and goes as he pleases, but the name itself isn’t at all controversial. The XFL might feel Drifters is too similar of a name to Cowboys, but a drifter arguably sounds cooler than a cowboy. The logo could be a black-hatted gentleman that lets you know what the team is about.
Houston is known as the world capital of space exploration, so a simple name like the Houston Space (or maybe Spacemen) for an XFL team would work. This would fall in line with two major professional sports teams in Houston—the NBA’s Rockets and the MLB’s Astros—which is a plus as the team looks to get a foothold in the area.
Los Angeles Vipers
Ideally, the animals associated with team names will be relevant to the area, and southern California has an abundance of snakes, including vipers. The Arizona Diamondbacks of the MLB are the only other major professional sports team names after a snake, viper is arguably one of the better animal names to use for a team name, and the Los Angeles Vipers sounds original. Desperados, Runners, and Stars were three other potential names in consideration for the Los Angeles XFL team.
New York Knights
This might be the best potential XFL team name on the list, as New York Knights just flows very nicely, and “Knights” is an imposing and dignified name that’s been underutilized in professional sports (the Golden Knights of the NHL made a great choice for their expansion team name). A knight mascot—whether a dude dressed as a knight or a cartoonish knight like UCF uses—would probably be the best in the league. It’s easy to picture the New York Knights becoming the XFL’s most popular team.
Seattle Sea Lions
Sea lions are amusing creatures, the fact that “lion” is in the name makes them more imposing, and there are a lot of them around Seattle. The SEA-SEA to start the city name and mascot name might be ripping off the Seahawks a bit, but the XFL probably doesn’t care if the NFL is mad about that. Considering all the rain in Seattle, the Sun Dodgers might also be a pretty good original name. (Seattle Rain might’ve been the choice if not for the NWSL’s Seattle Reign FC women’s soccer team.)
St. Louis Steel
Incorporating something about St. Louis’ iconic Gateway Arch seems like a good idea to get people understandable upset about the NFL taking away their franchise to rally around a new football team that takes pride in the city. The Gateway Arch consists of steel, so the St. Louis Steel would be a tough name that can incorporate the arch into the team logo. A primary gray steel color scheme—perhaps for alternate uniform at least—would be something different.
Tampa Bay Bull Sharks
Tampa Bay was the most difficult city to come up with an XFL team name, but the alliteration between Bay and Bull makes “Tampa Bay Bull Sharks” sound smooth. And bull sharks are among the most dangerous sharks, making the team name more daunting. The Gators might be a better option, but it’s unclear if the University of Florida’s Gator name would be a positive or negative for the XFL—the league probably has the research to determine that if Gators is under consideration.
The Washington Generals might work better if not for the basketball team of the same name (the one that the Globetrotters beat up on), but the Washington Commanders is a similar name that projects power and solidity. There shouldn’t be much concern about “stealing” the name of an AAF team (the San Antonio Commanders), as the AAF will be far in the rear-view when the XFL takes the field next spring. The Washington Americans and Washington Wardens are two other options for the XFL team in the nation’s capital.